Called-in HS2 works application approved by ministers

The housing and transport secretaries have given the green light to a called-in application that will allow lorry movements to a High Speed Two (HS2) railway construction site in north London.

HS2 works taking place at Old Oak Common. Pic: HS2 Ltd
HS2 works taking place at Old Oak Common. Pic: HS2 Ltd

The application by High Speed Two Limited, the government-owned company driving the project, proposes allowing the movement of large goods vehicles (LGVs) to two HS2 construction sites in the village of Harefield near Uxbridge.

The application was made under the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Act 2017.

It was called in by ministers in July because the London Borough of Hillingdon failed to determine it within the statutory timeframe.

The council told an inspector considering the plans that it would have rejected the application because HS2 was not prepared to accept three conditions it sought to impose.

The application sought permission for more than 24 daily movements of LGVs along country roads.

However, the council wanted to impose a condition to restrict the number of movements to no more than 16 per per hour during peak hours. 

It also proposed a detailed monitoring and reporting scheme under which HS2 would have been required to report all lorry movements to the council on a weekly basis.

However, communities secretary Robert Jenrick and transport secretary Grant Shapps agreed with the inspector that the council had not provided sufficient justification for the imposition of these two conditions, while HS2 accepted the third one.

The ministers' decision letter said: "The secretaries of state agree that the council has failed to provide sufficient evidence as to why the number of LGV movements should be limited and, specifically, why they should be limited by condition to no more than 16 movements per hour."

The decision letter also said the condition on reporting lorry movements went beyond the requirements of guidance accompanying the Act.

The ministers allowed the application, imposing just one condition proposed by the council, regulating the safe movement of vehicles turning out of the construction sites.

Last month, ministers announced the creation of a new development corporation at a planned High Speed Two (HS2) rail hub in the East Midlands.

In September, it was reported that "unforeseen complications with ground conditions, miscalculated land values and poor governance" are all to blame for the HS2 project's spiralling budget.

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